tv Public Affairs CSPAN April 7, 2013 10:30pm-11:00pm EDT
. then president clinton and so for me, i think the closeness of the presidency was really more apparent. but once i got elected, you know, in 1994, you know, obviously president clinton was president then. and we got to know president clinton very well. but for me the closeness was president bush. i was on the intelligence committee. i heard all the information about weapons of mass destruction and i was here in 9/11. i think there was a kinship and a closeness with president bush who i admire and think was a
very good president. but mostly because i was in the position being on the congress, being on the intelligence committee being here when we had that huge 9/11 attack and really working with president bush. but then when president obama got elected to the united states senate from illinois, he and i became friends and i'm probably proudly closest now to president obama. >> for any senate to work with the president, what are the rules of the road that any chief executive needs to know when they come to this town? >> mutual respect, respecting the congress, respecting that these 535 were each individually elected by thousands of people in their districts or in their states. and that means something. an election means something. and so that mute twal respect that members of congress were elected by the people. and even though you're president and you were elected by the all
the people there has to be that mutual respect, a mutual understanding that in order to really get the people's business accomplished, we have to talk to one another and work with one another and compromise with one another. and i think that's really happening since president obama was re-elected. >> you decided in 2008 to retire from the house. why? >> well, for my first 12 years i was the majority party, and it's a lot more fun being in the majority. for the last two years i was in the minority party. i didn't like it much. and i felt i had done everything that i could possibly do. i knew i wasn't going to be in leadership. i really thought that i could be more effective doing something else even though i didn't thought what i was going to be. >> you thought you would have been president of bradley university. >> that would have been a great
job. i wish they would have picked me. >> still interested? >> the only one would be my alma mater. i wouldn't be interested in any other university. >> so president obama was elected in 2008. how did you become transportation secretary? >> five days after he was -- well, a few days before he was elected president, rahm called me and said i'm going to be chief of staff do you think there has to been an election before you can be chief of staff. but five days after he called me for chief of staff. he said you know, we're going to be looking for some republicans. i tell this story because this is a signal about president obama. this idea that he's bipartisan and that he reaches across the aisle, i'm a classic example of it. i ran into senator obama about four months before he was elected president. i saw him at the capitol.
he knew i was going to retire from congress. he said, what are you going to do? i said i don't know. he said if this works out for me, i'm going to be looking for some republicans. tch idea of bipartisanship is in the president's d.n.a. he believes in it. five days after he was elected to the united states senate from illinois, he called me in peoria. i was a congressman. he said i want to come and meet with you and figure out how we can work together. he believes in bipartisanship. he believes that's the way we get things done. i am a great example of it. when i was a congressman. we had a 40-minute interview and few days said will you take transportation? >> why this position and why did you say yes? >> well, i wanted to work for what i believe was the most historic, maybe the most historic administration in the history of our country, an african-american from illinois and i just felt it was as
somebody who loves public service it was a great opportunity to serve to work for a historic transformational president. we felt it was an opportunity we couldn't pass up. >> there is a picture behind you. it looks like you are -- the president is signing something. explain this photograph. >> oh, that's one of the meetings where the president was going to the republican conference in baltimore. the republicans were having a retreat. and they invited the president to come. on the elevator going up to the meeting he said, lahood get in front of me and block as we see all these republicans. and i did that. and we walked in the room and all the leadership were there, and they got a kick out of it.
>> you're in the cabinet. how does he run the meeting? >> it's all prescribed. for four years almost all of the cabinet meetings were about the economy. we'd hear from geithner or other people on the economic team. we would have some kind of a foreign policy report from hillary or bob gates who had been the secretary of defense. and so almost every cabinet meeting was about the economy and how we were going to really manage what we were doing and sometimes we'd hear from janet napolitano or jack from o.m.b. when he was there. but mostly all of it was aren't the economic issues. because look the last four years were a real struggle when it comes to the economy.
at d.o.t., i think we contributed a lot to putting people to work. almost all of the focus of the cabinet meetings were around the economy. >> what is the job of the transportation secretary? what is a day like for you? what are your responsibilities? >> well, we manage 55,000 people. 38,000 are f.a.a. employees located at a different location. many of them are in airports around the country. really just sending -- our agenda really has been about safety and making travel safe but also for the first two years taking our economic stimulus money $48 billion that we got, spending it within two year, putting people to work. we put 65,000 people to work and 15,000 projects in two years. very proud of that we really contributed to getting -- getting at least the infrastructure and transportation economy moving.
but i would say safety and i would say carrying out the president's agenda as it relates to high speed rail and then making sure that our economic stimulus mown was spent correctly. pass a transportation bill an f.a.a. bill. we were able to do some legislative, work with congress, work with our stakeholder, the governors and mayors of the country and really take the president's trance or -- transportation agenda on the road. i just finished in montana. that was my 50th state a few days ago. 18 countries, 250 cities. so we really tried to touch the people in america who really are involved with infrastructure and safety and those kind of issues. >> what have you learned ray lahood in the job? >> i think really just having a focus and working hard, you can really make a difference. i served in congress for 14 years. there's a lot of satisfaction, but in this job you can really make a difference because you can get things done.
you can really have an impact. and what i told our other cabinet colleagues when we first met for years ago. pick two or three things that you want to get done so when you walk out the door, you can remember two or three things that you accomplished. and a lot of them we just had a dinner together before the last state of the union and i lot of them remember that advice. these are big agencies. they're full of career people. they are going to be here long after we leave. if you can walk out the door and say you accomplished two or three important things for the president and for the american people, that's a big accomplishment in these jobs. and i'm proud that we can say that and i think a lot of my cabinet colleagues would say the same thing. >> so what's next for you? >> you know, i don't really know, steve. i'm going to walk out the door and see if the phone rings. i have 10 grandchildren, five in peoria. four in indianapolis, one here in washington.
we'll probably do a little grandbaby and grandchildren business more often. but we'll see where it takes us. i've never really worried about what's around the next corner and i don't think i'll have to worry about it when i walk out the door here. >> any thoughts about writing a book? >> yes, i'm actually in collaboration with the head of the dixon congressional center in illinois. frank mcaman who is phenomenal. we've written some of what i call essays on my career in congress talking about bipartisan with retreats that i co-sponsors, the impeachment and all that was involved in those few days and a few things like that. so i'm going to write something. i don't know if anybody will be interested in it. but frank is going to help me with that. >> secretary ray lahood, thank
you very much for your time. >> thank you. >> in the world of broadband, these things have increasingly converged. >> unlike the cable companies, the telcos are beholden to a certain tax by which they have to maintain two separate networks. a copper network for our grandparents who insist on having a copper landland line telephone, and a broadband telephone network. the problem is, this is a diversion of their resources. it is not a trivial diversion ,
it is a significant diversion . if they were free from those obligations, they would have billions of dollars to go back and invest in broad band networks. >> monday night on the communicators at 8:00 eastern on c-span 2. >> the confirmation hearing for the energy secretary, ernest moniz, will be next week. president obama no nominated
>> ladies and gentlemen, the president of the united states. >> this is a serious group. everybody have a seat. have a seat. good morning, everybody. this afternoon i will hold my first cabinet meeting of my second terment. -- term. 24r will be some new faces and some family faces in new jobs. today i am announcing my plan to nominate three successful individuals.
i could not be more grateful to steve for the incredible contribution that he's made. now that he's decided to leave washington for sunny california, i am proud to nominate another brilliant scientist to take his place, mr. ernie moniz. there is ernie right there. [applause] >> the good news is, ernie
already knows his way around the department of energy. he is a physicist by tranges, but he also served under under secretary of energy by president clinton. since then he's directed m.i.t.'s energy initiative that brings together prominent thinkers to develop technologies that can lead us to more energy independence and also to new jobs. most importantly, ernie knows we can produce more energy and grow our economy while still taking care of our air, water, and climate. i could not be more pleased to have ernie join us. he will lead us in our inenvironmental protection effort. the e.p.a. has helped us to reduce emissions and dangerous emissions that cause climate change. lisa is now ready for a well deserved break.
i want to very much thank bob, who has not only been a great deputy administrator but has been acting as the acting administrator. zoo please, everybody, give bob a big round of applause. [applause] as we move forward, i think there is nobody who can do a better job in filling lisa's shoes permanently than my nominee who is standing beside me here, gina mccarthy. [applause] you wouldn't know it from talking to her, but gina is from
boston. one of her proudest moments was yelling "play ball" at fen way before a red sox game. but gina has got plenty more to be proud of. as top environmental official in massachusetts, she helped design programs to help promote renewable energy. as assistant e.p.a. administrator, she has focused on ways to keep our air clean and our economy going. she has earned a reputation as a straight shooter. she welcomes different points of view. i am confident she will do an outstanding job leading the e.p.a. these two over here, they are going to be making sure that we're investing in american energy, that we're doing everything we can to combat the threat of climate change, that we're going to be creating jobs and economic opportunity in the first place. they are going to be a great team. these are some of my top
priorities going forward. that's where the rubber hits the road. that's where my third nominee comes in. there is no question jeff's skill and versatility has served the american people very well. i suspect it will continue to serve us well in the future. in the meantime, i am confident that my nominee for o.m.b.
director, sylvia matthews burwell is the right person to kin continue jeff's great work. [applause] in the 1990's, when she was what, 19? sylvia served under jack lew as part of o.m.b. later she helped the gates foundation grow into a global force for good, and then she helped the walmart foundation. so sylvia knows her way around a budget. as the granddaughter of greek immigrants, she also understands that our goal when we put together a budget is not just to
make the numbers add up. our goal is also to reignite the true engine of economic growth in this country, and that is a strong and growing middle class. to offer ladders of opportunity for anybody willing to climb them. sylvia's mom is here. sylvia luse loves to talk about her parents, growing up in west virginia and the values that they instilled in her as educators. i think that reflects everything that sylvia now does. so i am absolutely confident that she is going to do a great job at o.m.b. those values are event especially important to remember now as we continue to try to find a way forward in light of the budget cuts that are already starting to cost us jobs and our economy. as i said bhf, the american people are resilient. i know that jeff and sylvia will do everything in their power to blunt the impact of these cuts on middle class families, but eventually a lot of people are going to feel some pain. that's why we have to keep on
working to reduce our deficit in a balanced way. an approach that's supported by the majority of the american people, including a majority of republicans. and i am confident that we can get there if people of good will come together. i want to thank steve, lisa, and jeff once more for their outstanding service, for all the great work they have done in this administration over the last several years. i want to thank ernie, gina, and and sylvia and their families for agreeing to take on these big roles. i hope the senate will confirm them as soon as possible. we cannot afford delay. i can promise you, as soon as the senate gives them the go-ahead, they will hit the ground running. they will help make america a stronger and more prosperous country.
>> dear mr. president, after the economic downfall of 2008, the education budget has definitely felt the effects of the situation. cutting education puts more problems down the road and puts the u.s. behind in global ranking. >> we have to be able to make it educationally. >> the resources, if used effectively to support high-quality instruction can make a difference in terms of student learning and student success. >> just investing for investment's sake is not justification. >> education is what drives jobs and drives our committee.
>> farragut middle school along with schools across the nation are facing a budget crisis. here at farragut middle school we are faced with many budget challenge. one thing our school faces is a lack of updated technology and resources that have become a necessity for modern education. >> without this technology, teachers are unable to give their teachers the best opportunities. >> every time we have budget cuts and we have a budget crisis, it seems like the number of students in our average glasses goes up. when you have more students in a class, you have less activities, you have less time for each individual student, you have more stress on the teacher because of added demands of grading, and it is just -- students are directly affected. the quality of instruction goes down with budget cuts. it just does. >> we think there should be more
teachers and a lower student teacher-student ratio. others believe there should be less teachers that are more adequately trained. >> when it comes to benefits, compensation structures we're -- what we're doing is talking about saying to teachers, we have increased nominal spending three-fold. we have increased inflation three-fold. most of this money has gone into hiring more warm bodies. it has gone to a 23-1 student p.m. ratio to about a 15.5-1 student ratio. this has necessary stated -- necessitated lots more hiring. i would like to see fewer teachers educated better.
>> not only are students and teachers affected, these cuts affect the students as a whole. >> i think everyone is affected. it is never just teachers. custodians are affected. bookkeepers. teachers assistants. all of them play an important role in education. >> millions of students are affected by budget cuts in their schools. these cuts not only affect their education, but also their future in the 21st century workforce. budget cuts can make a huge impact on all american citizens. higher education for students is critical. without a secondary education
degree, students don't have the same advantages that others do. in current times, having a good quality education is everything. >> coming out of colleges and getting into the work force, the one complaint we hear over and over is they don't get enough students after graduating college that are ready to take on a job, that they don't have the skills needed. that's why as leaders in government, we need to make sure that our priorities are focused on education. it is the most important thing that state government does. >> one of the things haunting me now is we have 10% unemployment rate. there are three million jobs available in the united states of america that are not filled because of a skills mismatch.
that's the kind of thing that we should be working on, on a micro level right now. >> the economic link to education is strong. we know educated people significantly more money. depending on their educational attainment we know unemployment decreases and we know there is a direct clink between our economy and education. >> we need to make sure we have high standards. we need to make sure we have the resources to help our teachers and our students meet those high standards so that we'll be well positioned for our future, and have a strong and vital community and a strong and vital economy. our students aren't just going to be competing with other kitsdz from knoxville and other kids in tennessee, they will be competing for jobs and other opportunities with young people from across the country and around the globe.
>> we need to find a way to get everybody fully engaged in education in our county and in our state to understand the needs and be able to come up with ideas to fix the problems that we have. >> mr. president, without funding, it is not possible for students to fulfill their maximum potential. because of the current economic situation, schools haven't received as much funding as they should. this is the most important issue right now. mr. president, please help fund education. >> congratulations to all the winners of this year's student cam competition.